Stepping into the stepparent role

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Stepfamilies face unique challenges and situations, especially when the family is newly blended. If you’re just getting to know your new stepfamily, it may take some time for everyone to feel comfortable with the new situation, says the National Stepfamily Resource Center. The organization offers this advice for new stepparents:

 

•  Understand that bonding takes time. Children of any age may need to get used to their new family. Try not to get discouraged if things don’t go smoothly right away.

•  Communication is key. All families need good communication. This means listening to each other and addressing problems and arguments calmly and directly.

•  Show interest in your stepchildren. Attend their activities, listen to their opinions, and ask them specific questions about their day. Try new family activities together such as walks in the park, bike rides, or something everyone will enjoy.

•  Use compromise to solve problems. Don’t use a “my way or the highway” approach, or the stepchild may become distant or show difficult behavior.

•  See a family counselor or therapist if you need extra help.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.

 

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